Dwarf Meyer Lemon - HELP! Rust mites?
This is my first post.
A month ago, I bought a dwarf meyer lemon tree from a local nursery. I live in Massachusetts, in a tiny apartment with not outdoor space, so the plant must be an indoor one. I put it in my southeast-facing window, with a grow-light six inches above it. When I first bought it, the tree looked more like a bush, growing in crazy directions and lopsided. I pruned it to look more like a bush and planted it at an angle to appear more symmetrical.
Over the last month, the tree has continuously shed leaves. At first I thought it was due to transplant shock. I switched to watering twice a week when I discovered the roots might need to "take hold" first, then switched back to once a week because I was afraid of overwatering it. I recently put a wood stake in the soil to monitor moisture levels more accurately from now on.
I am becoming increasingly suspicious that the tree is suffering from rust mites, and that this is causing defoliage. There was a lemon already on the tree when I bought it, and I didn't until a few weeks in that it was covered in sharkskin. I attempted to remove the sharkskin, and within the last week it came back with a vengeance. Some leaves, both old and new, become yellow with green spots on top. Wherever there is a green spot on top, there are black spots underneath, which I think is where the mites are feeding. These yellow-with-green-spot leaves are especially prone to falling off. But, some perfectly green, healthy looking leaves also occasionally fall off.
Much to my horror, as I tried to take pictures of my unripe, sharkskin lemon, it fell clean off. I have two dime-sized lemons developing on the tree. I also have many teeny tiny baby lemons developing all over the tree. Instead of growing its leaves back, the tree has poured its energy into flowering, which was really really nice. Now, there are an abundance of fertilized flowers, but several of my branches have been stripped bear. Is there any way to get the leaves to grow back?
Here are the pictures of the plant. Please help me to diagnose it. Do the leaves look like they are suffering from citrus rust mites?
I've been spraying down the plant with water every few days. As a natural remedy for rust mites, I have even been wiping the leaves and branches and fruit down with rubbing alcohol every few days. At times, this seemed to delay the yellowing of the leaves, but my constant contact with the tree has also accidentally knocked off several leaves.
Right now my first concern is the fact that the tree is not replacing the leaves it is losing. Please help!